One benefit of the AWEsome Book Tour: Catching up with old sources.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Brahm Ahmadi, a food justice entrepreneur in Oakland, CA this week. It wasn’t a long meeting, but I did get a really good “perspective check” on discussions of food. Brahm’s smart thought for the day? Part of what keeps low-income families from eating fresher, healthier food is not physical access or straight economics. It’s not a question of “I will not spend that much for food.” It’s more like, “I will not spend that much for food THAT I DON’T KNOW I WILL LIKE EATING.” This is a pretty big shift in perspective, and holds true to what I’ve seen in my reporting (and observed in myself).
Particularly when time and budgets are tight, taking a risk on a new kind of food is just that: A risk — of limited resources like time and money. So shifting diets isn’t just about access but about playing with that question of risk—of re-aligning the cost-benefit analysis for folks with limited means.
What I especially like about this is that this perspective sees working-class people as intelligent agents of their own lives and diets, rather than lecturing down to them about everything that is wrong with their diet. It’s a longer-term solution, something that will take years — as in, decades. But that also means, I think, that any change it helps bring about could have staying power.